|Photo by Ken Kramer|
Gabrielle Lamb is a native of Savannah, Georgia, and was trained at the Boston Ballet School. She joined Les Grands Ballets Canadiens de Montreal in 2000 and was promoted to soloist in 2003. Since 2009, she has been living in New York City and performing with Morphoses and Pontus Lidberg Dance. Her repertoire includes principal roles in works by George Balanchine, Christopher Wheeldon, Peter Quanz, Jiri Kylian, Mats Ek, Ohad Naharin, and Nacho Duato. She has also created leading roles in new works by Shen Wei, Stijn Celis, Pontus Lidberg, and Mauro Bigonzetti, among others.
Ms. Lamb is also a choreographer as well a self-taught video artist and animator. You can see some of her videos here.
For more information go to Gabrielle's personal website.
When did you first begin dancing?
- I started dancing when I was 4, but hated it because the tights were so annoyingto put on. So I quit and then restarted the next year.---somehow I got over thetights issue.
What style of dance do you prefer and why?
- I prefer any kind of dance which originates with the intention to communicate andconnect. The more I learn, the less interested I am in virtuosity for its own sake.I want to be able to let go and become someone else onstage, not to spendthose precious moments worrying about steps.
Who have you worked with in the past?
- I've been lucky enough to work with a lot of talented choreographers and stagersin the past. Some of those are: Natalia Makarova, Sylvie Guillem, Mats Ek,Ohad Naharin, Christopher Wheeldon, Shen Wei, Peter Quanz, Stijn Celis,Pontus Lidberg….not to mention all the fantastic dancer colleagues who haveinspired me over the years.
Who do you aspire to work with in the future?
- Other artists who open new pathways in my mind, no matter what discipline theybelong to. A dream list might include Crystal Pite, William Kentridge, RobertLepage, Michel Gondry.
Being a freelance dancer, how do you earn your living, ie: do you have side jobs
or skills you utilize for income?
- I choreograph and teach sometimes. I am also a self-taught filmmaker andanimator. I worked as the company videographer for Les Grands BalletsCanadiens when I was still dancing there, and I've also done work for Morphosesand BalletX. I'm preparing for a project with the Dance Theatre of Harlem.
Have you attended college or another kind of training? What/where?
- No. I've taken a few classes in film, but generally I prefer teaching myself.
What is the most challenging thing about your career?
- Keeping a sense of the long-term. It's too easy to get crazy about a small injurythat may be gone in two days---or a temporary lack of work---or the challenges oflearning new choreography. What seems impossible today often improvesovernight, so I've had to learn to back off being so rough on myself when I can'thave what I want straight away.
What do you feel and think when you’re on stage?
- If I'm in the space I'd like to be in, I feel like time slows down and I can befearless. In the best moments I'm very conscious of the sensations in my body,and I imagine being able to communicate those sensations to the audience. It'slike there's a line of communication that runs underneath the floor of the stageand branches out to every seat in the house. If I'm not quite there, then I'm justjudging and chastising myself and thinking about what just happened or what'sabout to happen 5 seconds from now. And I imagine that on those occasions theaudience feels somehow less connected as well.
How do you keep yourself motivated and maintain creative thinking during your
- I don't have much off-time. I always seem to have some project to work on orthink about. On the less fun side, there is always email to reply to or schedulingto do.I do yoga every day, and unless I"m really on vacation, I take ballet class atleast 5 days a week.
What is the most valuable advice you have received from a teacher or mentor?
- I was feeling envious of another artist's talent----and despair of ever being able toapproach her accomplishments. I expressed this to a friend and fellow dancer,who wrote to me,"Use her journey as a template for what you want, the beauty of being yourself and expressing it to your full ability"…This really made an impression on me---it reminded me to stay on my own pathand follow it as far as I can, and not to get hung up thinking I'm on the same pathas any other single person.
What element, theme, or character from the Bacchae do you relate to most?
- I do an improvisation which is composed of asymmetrical arm movements whichevolve into symmetry. When I'm asymmetrical, my attention is very fragmented,and when I achieve symmetry I become more focused, as though I'm makinga new connection between already existing ideas in my mind. This for me is aninteresting physical expression of the way that consciousness and creativitywork: disconnected streams of thought which with practice can become focusedand aligned.
What is the best/funniest/most challenging experience of the rehearsal process
- The best part of the experience thus far has been working with a group in whichevery single person has something truly special and different to offer. I've beenworking a long time, and I can say that it's pretty rare to be in a group where Ican watch and be inspired by everybody. Every day in class and rehearsals Isee coordination and phrasing that I'd like to steal and try to make work on myown body.
For more information on Morphoses's production of Bacchae go to: www.morphoses.org